Hidden Gems Only Locals Know: Discover the Best of Davao City
With more than 7,000 tropical islands to select from, the Philippines is a beach bum’s enchantment. From volcanic fantasy-scapes, island-hopping opportunities and marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean in the Visayas, to sprawling mega-islands such as Luzon and Mindanao, there’s an island here to suit every traveler’s taste. Let us tell you about the hidden gems and best sites in Davao City that only locals know about.
Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – these regions are not only sectioned geographically, but one will observe that there are diverse dialects and customs in each island group. Despite their differences, these major islands contribute to preserve and reinforce the Filipino cultural practices and traditions. However, among the three island groups, tourists often visit destinations in Mindanao.
Despite rugged mountains, killer surf, jaw-dropping beaches, and native cultures living much as they have for many years, most parts of Mindanao remain off traveler’s radar. Now, if you’re planning to set foot in Mindanao to travel, then consider one of the safest cities in the world – Davao City!
What Makes Davao, the Nature and Adventure Capital of the Philippines?
An exciting adventure is waiting for you in the southern Philippines when you pick Davao as your next travel destination. Whether you’re adventurous, a shopaholic, a nature lover, or a history junkie, you’ll be sure to enjoy a trip here. Consider this:
- Philippine President’s Hometown
- Top Historic Sites and Unique Architecture
- Scenic Nature and Adventure
- Local Foodie Scenes
- Best Shopping Districts – Souvenirs to Take Home
Davao City, Philippine President’s Hometown
Fierce respect or harsh disgust – without question, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a polarizing figure that gets either of these two responses. Ever since he won the Philippine presidency in 2016, there appears to be no middle ground when it comes to how people react and treat him.
But regardless of your view about this man, one thing is for sure – the city which he governed as mayor for more than 20 years is one of the country’s most exceptional and progressive. Davao City is considered one of the safest cities in the world. For that, people, especially travelers, started to get interested in visiting here and it became a major attraction in the country.
Top Historic Sites and Unique Architecture
D’ Bone Collector Museum
The D’ Bone Collector Museum is located at San Pedro St., Poblacion District that is home to over 700 specimens. For only Php80 for adults and Php70 for children, guests get to enjoy a fascinating display of various animals and the largest collections of bones, skulls, and skeletons.
Located in Talomo, you can step back in time in this 300-meter tunnel of history where two life-sized Japanese soldiers stand guard. For as cheap as Php50, guests get to discover the former headquarters used as offices, dungeons, and even chambers for prisoners during World War II.
Here, you’ll also explore vintage weapons; old bullets fired during the battle, and statues dressed in kimonos.
Kublai Art Garden
Kublai Art Garden is a group of sculptures disseminated around a lush surrounding. Reflected as one of the favorite outdoor adventure spots in the foot of Mt. Apo, this garden works as a giant canvas for the artist, Kublai Millan. One of his most unique pieces is the Agong House, which is a structure patterned after the Mindanaoan percussion instrument and serves as his rest house.
Scenic Nature and Adventure
Standing over 9,600 feet over Davao, every mountaineer aspires to climb the famous and the Philippine’s tallest mountain. If you’re an adventurous one, this one’s for you because it takes about three to four days to hike up and back. While you’re on top, the magical sight of seeing the ground touching the sky will surely make your hike a truly incredible experience.
Davao Bamboo Sanctuary and Ecological Park
Amidst the growing city of Davao lies a paradise called the Davao Bamboo Sanctuary and Ecological Park. It is a 3.5-hectare green forest, which is enclosed by 26 diverse kinds of trees – mostly bamboos.
In the center is a gigantic dome sheltered with vines. Here, you can ride kayaks, go fishing inside the park, eat in a restaurant that serves buffet lunch and enjoy while swimming in the pool.
This largest ropes course facility in the Philippines is perfect for a group of nature-lovers and adventurous people. Outland Adventure is located in a private nature sanctuary just minutes from downtown Davao City. It offers reverse bungee jump, zipline, and high ropes circuit for meaningful personal development and team-building activities.
Local Foodie Scenes
One of the primary reasons to visit this city is its food. Notably called the Fruit Basket of the Philippines, Davao is one of the world’s primary producers and exporters of fruits like Durian, Banana, Mango, Mangosteen, Pomelo, and many more.
Besides fruits, Davao is also famous for its grills and seafood! Just everywhere, there are food stalls where you can pick from a selection of meat and seafood. One well-known spot to eat a truckload of barbeques is Roxas Boulevard. Just choose, and have them grilled in front of you.
Best Shopping Districts – Souvenirs to Take Home
As one of the longstanding shopping centers in Davao City, Aldevinco Shopping Center remains to be among the top spots for tourists who primarily wanted to take home products that are unique from Davao or Mindanao.
Located in Claro M. Recto Ave, Poblacion District, the center is a crafts gallery of its own. Showcasing over 100 shops, it offers genuine Mindanaoan culture, heritage, and original souvenir items, perfect for pasalubong.
Davao City is a remarkable travel destination with stunning nature spots, delightful food, and lovely people. It is flourishing but remains humble while giving importance to the same things as it did before – nature, tradition, and peace.
The Philippine’s melting pot of diverse cultures is the travel destination you want to include in your travel in the country. It has more than enough action to keep you satisfied. If you want to experience modern city life as you commune with nature’s offerings, Davao City is the safe haven to be.
About The Author: Joshua is a writer and a blogger from Tourist Secrets. He loves to travel all over Asia because the variety of cultures and wide choice of attractions fascinate him. Whenever he can, he goes to the basketball gym with his friends to break some sweat.